Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child. Have fun!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Legally old people

On March 12, John and I received this message from a friend, "Tomorrow you will be the parents of a person legally defined as an adult...which means you both now fit the legal definition of 'old people'...Have a nice day."  That's one way to jump start your oldest child's 18th birthday.

Another is to reminisce.  So I did.

This is the child whom we prayed for.  Diligently.  Urgently.  For whom we went through every infertility test known to medical science.

The child who was to join the austere group of youngsters known as Clomid babies.  (Hey, we should look into this - maybe there's a college scholarship for which you might apply!)  And whatever he did in there, it worked because they just kept coming after he left.

Back in the day, before FB and Twitter and play-by-play delivery photography, we announced his birth  with a snail mail announcement.  Before the day of naked baby pictures, we actually clothed him for a cute shot to include in our joyful announcements.  And he has no pictures of my pregnant belly to hang on his future living room wall.  He thanks me for that.

But then he and I spent our first week together sitting in the comfy living room chair, crying.  Both of us.  And I asked (sorry to say), "I prayed for this?"

But those days end far too quickly, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

This is the child whose favorite television show at 18 months was Wheel of Fortune.  The child who sat on my hospital bed when introduced to his new baby brother, preferring the TV to the little grub in my arms, repeating each called letter on the show by saying, "D...Daddy!  M...Mommy!  A...A-dew!"

The child who insisted he wanted to be an astronaut when he grew up and whose favorite bedtime stuffed "animal" was John Glenn.

This is the child who grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men.  We couldn't be prouder.

Happy adulthood.  May you continue to follow God with all your heart and to lean not on your own understanding.  May you be a blessing to everyone you meet.










Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sewing shirts


A while back, someone asked me if I could take a bunch of shirts and make them into a wall hanging.  Apparently a bunch of shirts had been unearthed at his father's workplace and they were thinking they'd make a nice display of the company's logo.  Sure!

So it wasn't really cleaning out the sewing closet as everything was given to me, but it sure was fun none-the-less.

While I don't think I'll get to Illinois anytime soon to see it displayed in all its glory, I do hope it's enjoyed by all.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Waiting and nudging

At some of our King's Strings concerts, Eden talks about "following the nudge" and how it can brighten someone's day.

She shares about a time when she had specifically asked for prayer that she'd shine God's light to others.  Specifically, each of us had come to a small group gathering, bringing an item to represent a way in which another person could pray for us during the next month.  Eden had drawn a picture of various forms of light - a lightbulb, a fire, a candle, etc.  She shared that she wanted to do a better job of shining God's light.  Since there are more Kings in the small group than all the non-Kings combined, it was inevitable that when the items were passed around the circle, that at least one of us would go home with an item belonging to someone in our own family.  I ended up with Eden's picture.

I put it in a prominent location and began praying for her request.  Sometimes we'd pray this together at bedtime, other times I'd pray alone.  During that month, Eden began acting at a regional theater.  It was the Christmas season and she played an adorable little elf (unashamedly biased, I admit) with a floppy hat.  One day in the employee dining hall, she said she just got this feeling that she wanted to go sit in the lap of one of the actors that she had gotten to know.  So, she walked over to this young woman and climbed into her lap and promptly fell asleep.  We later learned that this woman had been sitting there hoping that Eden would come to her and it was a very meaningful time.

Upon hearing the story from the woman's point of view, I called Eden aside and said, "Eden, you were praying that you would shine God's light and look, sometimes that happens when we don't even know we're doing it!"  It was not only a good lesson for a 6 year old but for her "older" mother as well.

I admit that way too often I get that nudge but I'm too scared or embarrassed to follow through.  Oh to be a child and free to follow God's leading without worrying about what others think!

Yesterday in church, someone did this for me.  She leaned forward and handed me a piece of paper (Forgive me for not responded when you first tried to get my attention.   I thought it was the Good Doctor trying to get me to go up to the front where we would be serving communion but I knew that it wasn't time yet and I didn't want him forcing me to be the first one up front!), apologizing for passing along such a well-known verse but saying that she just felt like God wanted her to give these words to me:

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11  I am praying that He will lead you beside the still water and restore your soul this week.  May your hope be renewed and your strength restored.

Those were just the words I needed to hear after a trying (crying?) week.  It was a week of doubts; knowing God always has the best in mind, but feeling like I was getting the short end of the stick.  Wanting to be mature and trusting but really feeling like life wasn't fair.  (Yeah, sounds like my 8 year old, doesn't it?)  Knowing that God cares so much that He gave a friend a word just for me, and knowing that she was willing to take the risk to share it... That meant more than I can ever tell her.  Thank you.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Waiting and circling

One of the readings in Draw the Circle focused on the Israelites circling Jericho.  Previous to this reading, I had never considered this act of faith to be a type of prayer.  I felt a nudge to "circle" but circle what?  Assuming that my house and our new addition were our Jericho, my first impulse was to get out and start walking around the house.

I pictured that from the neighbors' point of view and decided that it probably wasn't the best choice.

So I settled upon circling the block.  Every day, regardless of the weather.  I didn't take into account that there might be a day of so much taxiing that circling would be impossible.  Oops.  But other than that one day I've been out there without fail, giving the neighbors something to talk about.  It's not legalistic; it's simply obedience to a nudge.  It's not assuming that God is going to give me what I want, when I want it, just because I'm doing what He's asked; it's resting in Him, learning as we go.

And funny, but what at first sounded like drudgery, has become an act that I look forward to.  I pray circles as I circle.  I pray for each of my children and for the Good Doctor.  I pray for any future children.  If there is a match waiting for our decision, I pray for that.  If our profile is being shown to an expectant or birth mom, I pray for her.  I ask God to give her peace in her decision.  I ask that her baby would be placed in a home where he or she will be safe, loved, and able to grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men.

And as we wait and wait and wait, I circle, and circle, and circle.  I pray and pray and pray.  I'm growing and the kids are growing.  And somewhere, there's a child that's growing, either still unborn, or under the watchful eye of a mother or foster mother.  And someday the wait will be over and we'll get to grow together.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Waiting and praying

About a month ago I started reading The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson to the youngest four during our daily devotions.  We loved it.  Soon after, I heard about his newer publication, Draw the Circle, a 40 day devotional and prayer challenge, based on his bestseller.  With Lent coming up, I decided it'd be a great theme upon which we could focus.  So we switched midway.  I offered the challenge up to the whole family but in the end it was only those over which I still have devotional control who accepted the challenge.  That's okay.  The five of us are growing in leaps and bounds in our personal prayer lives and pressing into God's desires for each of us.

Soon after we began our Lenten series, Isaac found out that there's a youth version of The Circle Maker and he wondered if we should be reading that instead.  I asked him, "Do you understand what this book is about?  Do you enjoy the stories and examples?  Are you being challenged?  Are you learning about prayer?"  The answer was yes, of course.  "Then I see no reason to change."  My family is used to me giving them adult books on Christian living, but if yours are not, then by all means, thank you Mr. Batterson for giving us more than one option.

To find out what the kids have been getting from this series, read here.

For me, it was the perfect topic during this season of waiting, spiritual attack, and uncertainty.  I soon found out that I wasn't the only one in our adoption group doing this study.  In fact, it seems as if several churches across the nation have taken this 40 day prayer challenge and made it a corporate challenge complete with prayer walls to circle the prayers God hands down to each person.  As a visual learner, that gives me goose bumps!  Trying to figure out which wall of my house could be commandeered as a prayer wall.  Hmmmm.

The first concept that resonated with me was that of not just praying for something, but praying through.  When I was honest with myself I realized that too often I pray for something until I get an answer, whether that be yes, no, maybe, or wait.  Once it appears as if my request is not being answered, I quit praying for it.  Batterson's challenge is to continue praying, to pray through.  At first I found I really had to force myself to persevere when I really just wanted to get discouraged and give up with some form of pity party for those whom the Lord hasn't yet answered.  Now I see my prayer muscle strengthening on an almost daily basis as I persevere through days of doubt and depression.

The second lesson I've taken away from this study is to praise God as if He has already answered my request.  As the saying goes, and many songs have adapted, praising Him in the storm, or in the waiting.  This is also something that Eden has adapted, and which she mentioned in her review of the book.

Mark Batterson makes it very clear that he isn't encouraging a name it-claim it or health and wealth kind of prayer life.  Our prayers have to come from passions and desires that God has first placed within us.  We need to be discerning and searching first, obedient second.  We need to get out of the boat, praising God in the act.  The answer will come.

So where are we in our adoption journey?  Still waiting.  And praying.  But this we know, every day we are one day closer to seeing our child.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Waiting

I'm not very good at waiting.  I go nuts.  If I'm waiting in traffic, I'm thinking about where I'm supposed to be and fretting over (possibly) being late.  Since I'm usually early, the fretting is typically in vain as the minor delay makes me right on time.  If I'm waiting in a doctor's office, I'm thinking about all the things I could be getting done at home.  If I forgot to bring a book along, I'm also thinking about the precious me-time that could be spent making headway in a book, a rare but valued occurrence.

But that kind of waiting is nothing.  So much of life is waiting for things of much more importance.  There's waiting for graduation, waiting for a job, waiting for a spouse, waiting for a child, waiting for a medical answer, waiting for healing, and maybe the most difficult of all - waiting for Heaven.

So this waiting for a child is just about over the top for me.  Sometimes days go by without a single potential situation coming our way.  The waiting is intense.  Sometimes, two situations come by in a day.  The waiting is intense.  Sometimes days go by without an answer.  The waiting is intense.  Sometimes a response comes back right away; the expectant or birth mother has chosen a different family.  The waiting is still intense.

There is a simple yet profound little devotional called 31 Nuggets of Hope: For Moms Who Said Yes to the Fatherless by Shelly Roberts.  This is the book I go to when I need a reminder that I'm not alone; these feelings and experiences are felt by every single one of us when bringing wounded children into our homes.  This morning's reading was just for today, and tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that...

"We have NO control over anything that is about to happen in our lives, but we know the ONE who does.  It is there we must find refuge and it is the ONLY place we will find peace.  If we do not rest there, we will lose our minds.  When you find your mind drifting in a sea of unknowns, thrashing wildly about in the waves of fear, you must, by mere obedience, let God take control of your thoughts.  You must submit everything to His loving care."

So where are we now in our adoption journey?  We're waiting.  And I'm learning to give up my desire for control, to find refuge in God and to claim the peace that passes all understanding.